‘I woke up one morn­ing and half my hair had gone’

The Daily Telegraph - Telegraph Magazine - - Just Williams -

BRENDA FINN, 34, a can­dle­maker, dis­cov­ered she had alope­cia uni­ver­salis – a con­di­tion that re­sults in a com­plete loss of hair, the causes of which are un­known – when she was 14.

‘I’ve worked hard to get to the stage where I can even take a photo of my­self. I was 14 when it hap­pened. One night I went to bed with my hair and the next morn­ing I woke up with just half of it. In the space of four weeks, my long hair had gone, and so had the hair from my arms, eye­brows, nos­trils – you name it, it all just dis­ap­peared.

‘My par­ents saved up enough money to buy me a wig, but back in 1999 they weren’t great. I don’t think that helped my self-con­fi­dence, but nowadays I think, if peo­ple can’t take me for how I look, that’s their prob­lem, not mine. I still get frus­trated when peo­ple as­sume I’m not fem­i­nine: we’re brought up from such a young age to be­lieve that our fem­i­nin­ity is de­pen­dent on our hair and our ap­pear­ance. Peo­ple are still sur­prised to this day when they see me wear­ing a dress.

‘I up­loaded my first selfie with­out my wig about five years ago, after I was in­spired by Jessie J shav­ing her head. I was a bit ner­vous about do­ing it. I thought peo­ple might have avoided com­ment­ing or lik­ing the pic­ture, but I’d say it’s been about 80 per cent pos­i­tive. You do get peo­ple who shoot off a quick com­ment, such as “Hi, baldy”, be­cause they find it en­ter­tain­ing, but they don’t re­alise that words like that can stay with you for weeks.’

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